Recreation committee discusses future plans

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2010

NATCHEZ — The nine-member committee appointed to explore options for a proposed recreation complex is hoping to break ground by the end of 2011.

But Chairman Tate Hobdy admits the committee is still in a discovery stage and plans could change.

The committee in charge of the planning stages of the project met with its second architectural firm Wednesday at its weekly meeting. Hobdy said the committee expects to meet with three to five firms.

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“We have a general idea of what the community needs,” Hobdy said. “But all of the firms have different, good, ideas. We are trying to get ideas from people who have experience building these kinds of projects.”

Since the committee has been meeting, it has also toured the recreation center built in St. Francisville, La.

“We have been meeting every week,” Hobdy said. “I feel like we have made good progress over the month and a half we have been active.”

Hobdy said a lot still has to get done before the committee can set a more firm date for construction, however.

“It is hard to say when exactly the park will get started, because there are a lot of variables involved — surveys, master plans, engineering, among other factors,” he said. “But waiting is good because it gives it time to sink in.

“We’re not just rushing out and building a recreation center and then coming back to realize that we forgot to consider irrigation, drainage or any one of 1,000 factors.”

In the next couple of weeks, Hobdy said the group is looking to travel to more recreation complexes in the area and meet with more architectural firms.

The recreation committee was formed in February in response to a countywide vote overwhelmingly in support of pursuing a complex.

Any plans the nine-member committee proposes will have to be approved by the city and county boards. The city, county and school district will also have to approve funding plans.